It’s still too hard to tell if Twitter’s userbase is going to splinter off into different apps, or stick with the platform through whatever comes next.
But if there is indeed a major split, then this could be a key alternative, with Bluesky, the decentralized social platform founded by former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, launching in private beta with selected users.
As you can see in these example screens, Bluesky looks very much like Twitter, including comments, likes, retweets and profiles. The project was launched within Twitter during Dorsey’s time at the app, with its main aim being the development of an ‘open and decentralized standard for social media’, a new approach to social platform management.
As reported by TechCrunch, the beta version of Bluesky uses Authenticated Transfer Protocol (AT) to facilitate ‘a federated and decentralized social network’. That approach has been criticized by some within the broader decentralization movement, but the idea is that Bluesky will eventually provide a version of Twitter that puts more control into the hands of users, in regards to algorithms, moderation, UX, etc.
It’s still a long way from that next stage, but that’s the broader view, which is a similar framework to Mastodon, another popular Twitter alternative that’s gained traction in the wake of Musk’s takeover at the app.
But then again, maybe not that much traction, as Musk has repeatedly noted that Twitter usage is at all-time highs since his takeover of the app. Whether you like his approach or not, Musk’s attention-grabbing antics do seem to be driving more interest in the app – but it also seems untenable for him to single-handedly keep propping up Twitter engagement, no matter how much he amplifies his own tweets.
Which means that either Twitter will evolve, or users will migrate elsewhere. And while Mastodon and other apps are seeing some traction as a result of changes at the app, we haven’t seen a major shift to another platform as yet.
Could Bluesky eventually fill that void?
Again, it does look very much like Twitter, and with various former Twitter staff working at the platform, it seems most likely to offer a better alternative, based on past lessons.
The Mastodon experience, however, has shown that decentralized processes are not entirely intuitive, and while giving people more control is theoretically and ethically better, for many users, they just want a basic, plug-and-play approach to social networking.
If one of these platforms can nail that element, and Twitter 2.0 sees a major issue – like, say, a server crash or major outage – then they could be poised to take its place, or at least take enough of its audience to become a more viable consideration.
Bluesky, again, is not at that stage yet, but it does seem to be getting closer, and with the lessons of both Twitter and Mastodon now before it, maybe, this could be the first stage of the next Twitter-like thing.
We’ll keep you updated on the roll-out and development of the app.